05/16/2014 11:03AM

Wise Dan undergoes emergency colic surgery

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Wise Dan, voted Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and shown winning the Maker's 46 Mile in April, was having emergency colic surgery Friday morning.

Less than two weeks after scoring the 10th Grade 1 victory of his career, two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan underwent emergency colic surgery in Lexington, Ky. As of midday Friday, the prognosis for the gelding is fair, according to trainer Charles LoPresti and owner and breeder Morton Fink, and the issue may not be career-ending.

Wise Dan went out for a routine gallop Friday morning at his Keeneland base, but became uncomfortable after returning to the barn and was taken to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital shortly afterward. The 7-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding underwent surgery to repair a twist in his small intestine, and the surgery was uncomplicated, not requiring a resection of the intestines.

“When they opened him up, one of his intestines had just flipped over – they just straightened it out and sewed him back up,” Fink said.

One key with gastrointestinal troubles in horses is to catch the issue early – before the blood supply to the area is compromised, other sections of bowel become inflamed, or toxins are released into the bloodstream. Fink credited LoPresti’s quick action for Wise Dan’s prognosis.

“If it wasn’t for Charlie, we wouldn’t have a horse,” Fink said. “He galloped perfectly normal this morning, [but] Charlie looked in his stall and he said he had to go to Rood & Riddle.”

LoPresti, who accompanied his champion to the clinic, confirmed via text at about 12:30 p.m. Eastern that Wise Dan was resting in recovery at Rood & Riddle.

The gelding will remain at the hospital for a few days before returning to familiar surroundings at Keeneland to continue his recuperation. The first 72 hours after colic surgery are typically critical, with short-term complications such as postoperative ileus – a loss of gut motility – most likely to occur.

Barring complications with long-term recovery, Wise Dan could resume light training by midsummer.

“When Charlie first called me they were praying for him to live,” Fink said. “I’m only worried about him living – I’m not planning on any racing, but according to them, he’ll be ready to go back into training in six to eight weeks.”

Wise Dan has won 21 of 29 career starts, including back-to-back editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, earning $6,802,920. He began this season with two Grade 1 victories, scoring in the Maker’s 46 Mile April 11 at Keeneland before winning the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Wise Dan was honored as Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion turf male for both 2012 and 2013.

– additional reporting by Marcus Hersh



Diane Elhard More than 1 year ago
I know the vets wouldn't say it was ok for him to race again unless it was, but I still hope they retire him. He's served them faithfully and been a joy to all of us who love to watch these beauties run.
Brodieville More than 1 year ago
The trainers are "wise" to watch over their charges so carefully. I'm thankful this has been taken care of. EVERY horse that runs for our pleasure should be so well cared for. Thanks for this heartwarming story!
danny boy More than 1 year ago
Get well soon Wise Dan. You've been a joy to watch race for the past few years. Throw back horses that perform at a high level for multiple years don't come around too often anymore.
Daniel More than 1 year ago
Take It Easy Big Boy
nicholas More than 1 year ago
Oh no this is terrible-- prayers to dan and the connections
Greg More than 1 year ago
How did the intestines flip over , from running in the morn. If yes is the answer then serious consideration is needed. We r losing r stars,Rafael, Ramon, Wise Dan?. Who's next?
Kathie Roller-Stell More than 1 year ago
More than likely it happened when he rolled, or even just getting up and down. Horses have about 100ft of small intestine and hind gut combined and a big cavity to carry it in... not uncommon at all for a horse to get a twisted... somewhat uncommon for it to be caught, diagnosed and treated so quickly, hence his quick recovery period.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Should this a career ending type of ailment? I'm not at all familiar
not impressed More than 1 year ago
Everyone calling for his retirement give it a chill. Gez! The horse just had surgery. It will take a while before they know anything or how he recovers. He's in the best hands he could be and they won't be doing anything that will compromise him whatsoever. The vets are saying he could return to the track in 6-8 weeks. That means this *wasn't* as severe as it could be. If they vets say he *could* race again then they know what they are doing. That doesn't mean he will race again. His connections will make sure he's 100% sound before making that decision. So chill until he's given time to recover.
G More than 1 year ago
Wise Dan is now in recovery!
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Just hoping that they got him help in time....